Notice of Society’s Annual General Meeting

 Victoria, BC – August 17, 2015

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the members of the Victoria Symphony Society shall be held on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at Wood Hall, Victoria Conservatory of Music, 900 Johnson St, Victoria, BC at the hour of 6:00 pm for the following purposes:

  • Approval of the audited financial statements for the 2013/2014 fiscal year
  • Appointment of the auditors for the Society for the 2014/2015m fiscal year
  • Reports of Directors
  • Election of Directors

All subscribers and donors of $100 or more are members of the society and are invited to attend.

(Audited financial statements are available for inspection week of the AGM at the Victoria Symphony office, 620 View Street, Suite 610
Victoria, BC, during normal business hours and shall be made available at the Annual General Meeting.)
Dated at Victoria, British Columbia August 17, 2015

Chicago Sinfonetta founder Paul Freeman dies in Victoria, British Columbia at the age of 79

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
JULY 22, 2015 07:04 PM

CHICAGO – Paul Freeman, the founder of the Chicago Sinfonetta, is dead at age 79.

The Sinfonetta announced Freeman’s death on its website, saying the conductor had been fighting several ailments in recent years. He retired in 2011.

Sinfonetta director of operations Courtney Perkins says Freeman died late Tuesday in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife, Cornelia, and son, Douglas, at his side.

Freeman was born in Richmond, Virginia. He founded the Chicago Sinfonetta in 1987 as a mid-sized orchestra dedicated to promoting diversity and innovative programming.

In addition to classics, the orchestra performed music by minority composers. It also featured instruments considered offbeat for orchestras, including bagpipes, steel drums and sitars.

Perkins says Freeman’s family is planning a private ceremony in Victoria and a September public memorial service in Chicago.

© Copyright Times Colonist

– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/chicago-sinfonetta-founder-paul-freeman-dies-in-victoria-british-columbia-at-the-age-of-79-1.2009380#sthash.RKIx8Hza.dpuf

Let’s Dance! 26th Annual Victoria Symphony Splash focuses on dance music

Victoria, BC – July 6, 2015

The Victoria Symphony announced details of their 26th Annual Victoria Symphony Splash this morning, including the introduction of two young soloists who will perform on instruments that have never been featured on the barge stage: 18-year-old Rebecca Bracewell will play the accordion, and 16-year-old Ben Parker will perform on the trumpet.

Details about #splash2015 were revealed by Music Director Tania Miller at the Steamship Grill & Bar overlooking the Victoria Symphony Splash venue in the Inner Harbour.. “We want people to be so inspired by the beautiful music that they get up and dance,” said Miller as she told the audience that the concert’s theme would celebrate dance. “Whether it be kids playing around with movement or seniors dancing to a polka, we want to see people on their feet, enjoying the freedom of expression and movement that only music can inspire,” Miller continued.

This year’s program continues to build on the dance party theme created by the opening act, this year a combination of students from Vic High’s R & B Band and The Midnights. The dance party will start with the Midnights’ performance from 4 – 5:30 pm, and will continue when the orchestra takes the stage at 7:30 pm. From a Strauss Polka to Bizet’s Toréador Song, the program will keep people on their feet. “We’ve even included the Mexican Hat Dance!” exclaimed Miller. She hinted at a few surprises from street level as well, so stay tuned.

Continuing with the theme, one of this year’s Splash Young Soloists will play a tango with the orchestra. 18-year-old Rebecca Bracewell is one of two young soloists for the 26th Annual Splash, and will play Piazzolla’s Libertango on accordion. Bracewell was diagnosed with severe hearing loss at age three and has worn hearing aids ever since. While one might think such an immense obstacle would prevent her from becoming a musician, she rose to the challenge when she began playing the piano at age 7. A few years later Bracewell picked up an accordion, and has since won international competitions. Miller was ecstatic to include the accordion, an instrument not often associated with orchestral music and a first for Victoria Symphony Splash. She mentioned the Libertango was a perfect fit for the program this year, and thought it would show a fun side of the orchestra that might be new to people.

The second Splash Young Soloist, Ben Parker, will play Arutiuinian’s Trumpet Concerto. The virtuoso piece is a benchmark for trumpeters and Parker’s performance will mark the first time the trumpet has been played by a Splash Young Soloist. The launch audience of Splash sponsors, media and Band of Heroes was wowed as the two youth displayed their skills: Parker playing Jean-Baptiste Arban’s Fantasie and Variations on the Carnival of Venice and Bracewell Piazzolla’s Libertango. Even people walking the Inner Harbour stopped to listen to their talent.
The concert wraps up with the traditional finale, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” performed with fireworks, bells and cannons, concluding a spectacular evening of music.

At the launch, Victoria Symphony Executive Director Mitchell Krieger thanked sponsors and event partners of this year’s Splash. He announced that Thrifty Foods has come on board to be the Presenting Sponsor of this year’s Splash, and the Province of British Columbia is now the Family Zone sponsor and the Volunteer Sponsor. The Victoria Symphony Splash Band of Heroes has raised over $23,000 to date. The new Splash Buttons were introduced, a collector’s item available for a $5.00 donation.

The Splash Family Zone will be on the Fairmont Empress grounds from 1 pm – 4 pm. Activities include the VS Instrument Petting Zoo, craft activities with Royal British Columbia Museum, Robert Bateman Centre, and Parks Canada, games with Sportball, a bouncy castle, face painting, clowns, and more!

The Splash Street Dance party tradition continue getting the party started at 4 pm. Local band The Midnights provide music from through the ages featuring the best dance music of the past 60 years!


The 26th annual Victoria Symphony Splash takes place on August 2, 2015. From the floating stage in Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour, Maestra Tania Miller, the Victoria Symphony, The Midnights and 2015 Splash Young Soloists Ben Parker and Rebecca Bracewell will perform to an enthusiastic crowd of 40,000 people. The day begins at 1 pm with activities for families in the Splash Family Zone and ends with Victoria Symphony’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” at 9:45 pm accompanied by fireworks and cannons.

Ben II Rebecca II

 

A Celebration of Poetry: I Am in Need of Music

Victoria, BC – April 2, 2015

Victoria Symphony debuts unique concert: words of Canadian authors mixed with original symphonic music in A Celebration of Poetry: I am in Need of Music

“Who hears the songs when the voices are silent?
Who remembers the great sound we used to make, on the shores of an island we thought would last forever?” – Susan Musgrave

Experience the impact of music on words and words on music at this one-of-a-kind concert experience. Each of the writings chosen are evocative of a certain aspect of BC life and history, and these sentiments are answered and translated into orchestral music that reflect, sustain and flow with the words. The Victoria Symphony, under the baton of Music Director Tania Miller, will present this evocative concert on Saturday, April 18 at 8:00 pm at Alix Goolden Hall.

Vancouver in 1958; a whale; East Sooke in the 1940s; over-foresting damage to Haida Gwaii and its tragic impact; and an excerpt from Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro’s short story set in Vancouver: these images come to life as authors George Bowering, Susan Musgrave, Steven Price and Sheila Munro (daughter of Alice Munro) read their own remarkable works. Curated by author Jack Hodgins, the writers’ words will be interspersed with orchestral music carefully chosen to illustrate the poetry.

Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc will sing two beautiful works inspired by the words of American poet Elizabeth Bishop, commissioned by Ms. LeBlanc from Canadian composers Christos Hatzis and Alisdair MacLean. The Elizabeth Bishop Suite (MacLean) creates a narrative of family and community, long-lasting love, and the approaching separation brought about by life’s end. Four Songs on Poems by Elizabeth Bishop (Hatzis) includes songs connected by enigmatic ties that do not stem directly from their own individual histories and natures, allowing for tension and cohesion in the whole structure. Big band pop songs, folk/pop idioms, surrealist depiction of an anxiety dream and a mediation on the cosmic advent and fall of Adam are influences on Hatzis’ interpretation of Bishop’s poetry, and will be brought to life by LeBlanc.

Also included in the concert program are Victoria’s Tobin Stokes’ pieces titled Stories from Klee Wyck (movements Cha-Alt and Canoe), Aaron Copland’s Quiet City and Aaron J. Kernis’ Musica Celestis.

Tania Miller will host a post-concert informal talk in Wood Hall (at the Conservatory of Music) with the writers to talk about their creative lives, influences, and works, at which the audience can have a chance to meet the authors and hear their stories.

 

 

VS Executive Director Announces Departure

Victoria, BC – March 13, 2015

Mitchell Krieger, Executive Director of the Victoria Symphony since January 2009, will be stepping down from his position after the 75th Anniversary season, in June of 2016.

“When I leave the Victoria Symphony, it will be with a heavy heart. It’s a wonderful organization fully committed to enriching lives through the shared experience of extraordinary music. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together, and I look forward to a yearlong celebration of the 75th Anniversary,” Krieger said in his message to staff and the Board of Directors earlier in the week. “But with the impending birth of a granddaughter in New York, and the long distance from my family there and in other Eastern locations, my wife Sarah and I have decided that we need to be closer to them.”

Krieger has worked closely with Music Director Tania Miller during his tenure, and the organization has seen a continued growth in artistic programming, with numerous highlights including internationally renowned soloists, artists and conductors such as Anton Kuerti, Jan Lisiecki, Cirque de la Symphonie and James Ehnes, to name a few. He has also been instrumental in sourcing new financial support, and overseeing growth in the development and marketing departments of the VS, and initiated programs reaching out to the community for both sponsorship and artistic support.

Krieger believes that the Victoria Symphony has a key role to play in creating value and connections within the arts community and with new audiences. He’s spearheaded community collaborations such as the Chinatown Celebration, the Emily Carr project and most recently the Lest We Forget collaboration with partners including the Greater Victoria Public Library and Royal BC Museum, culminating in the Victoria Symphony concert at the Bay Street Armoury with the Canadian Scottish Regiment.

Praising his colleagues, Krieger says “the Victoria Symphony is blessed with immensely talented musicians, a strong and devoted board, an amazingly creative and hardworking staff, hundreds of wonderful volunteers, and innumerable supporters. The Victoria region is a terrific hotbed of world-class arts, and I believe the Symphony is the crown jewel of them all.”

The board of directors is starting a search for Krieger’s successor.

Yo-Yo Ma, Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Highlight 75th Victoria Symphony Season

Victoria, BC – March 11, 2015

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma makes his first appearance on Vancouver Island and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin returns as part of the Victoria Symphony’s celebratory 75th season.

The Victoria Symphony revealed that superstar Yo-Yo Ma will join the orchestra on December 7, 2015 to play Dvořák’s Cello Concerto as a part of their 75th Anniversary Season. Since his rise to fame in the late 1970s, Yo-Yo Ma has become a household name and has performed with top orchestras in the world, including the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Tickets for this concert range from $45 to $250 ($250 tickets include a meet and greet with Mr. Ma following his first-ever appearance on Vancouver Island).

Returning for his first appearance in more than a decade, internationally acclaimed conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead the orchestra through Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 “Romantic” In 2001, the Victoria Symphony provided Nézet-Séguin with his first big break when he was named Principal Guest Conductor, a post he held for three seasons. During his absence from conducting in Victoria, Nézet-Séguin led every major orchestra in the world including the Philadelphia Orchestra (where he is now Music Director), the Metropolitan Opera, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Nézet-Séguin selected Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet to complement the Bruckner for the evening concert on January 9, 2016.

The 2015-16 season presents world-class soloists, collaborations, performances, and programming. This 75th season will see the return of Canadian violinist James Ehnes, local pianist Lorraine Min, beloved conductor Brian Jackson and former Victoria Symphony Principal Horn David Cooper, as well as debuts by pianist Orli Shaham, double bass Gary Karr, and conductors Stilian Kirov and David Danzmayr. The VS will welcome the Naden Band and the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra for collaborations representing both the past and future of the orchestra, and the return of the exciting performers from Cirque de la Symphonie. Programming to look forward to includes the second-ever VS performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Bach’s A Musical Offering, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, and an all-Beethoven festival in which pianist Angela Cheng will perform all five of Beethoven’s piano concerti in one weekend in March 2016. Another spring highlight will see the VS take its first ever major canadian tour: Tania Miller, the orchestra and guest pianist Stewart Goodyear will travel to Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver to perform Stravinsky, Copland and Grieg before bringing the concert home to Victoria April 4.

Click here to see the season brochure!

Composer Gerald Barry celebrated in Victoria Symphony New Music Festival

Victoria, BC – February, 17, 2015

The work of composer Gerald Barry is the focus of this’s year’s Victoria Symphony’s New Music Festival, which includes concerts by the Victoria Symphony and Vox Humana.

Barry grew up in rural Ireland, where he had little exposure to music – only BBC classical when he went on car trips. The sudden outbursts of beautiful singing in Handel operas set him on the path to becoming a composer. Under the tutelage of Karlheinz Stockhausen after college, Barry developed a style with blend of hard edges and humour that entertains listeners: the only thing one can expect from Barry’s music with any certainty is the unexpected.

Former Victoria Symphony Composer in Residence Michael Oesterle chose Barry as the subject of this New Music Festival because he is relatively unknown to North American audiences. Barry’s chamber, choral and orchestral works will be played in the first festival in North America in his honour.

This New Music Festival will include concerts by the Victoria Symphony, Vox Humana, the Emily Carr String Quartet, and Sonic Lab, as well as special lectures both at the University of Victoria and preceding the Victoria Symphony’s concert. Featured Barry works include his string piece La Jalousie taciturne, his orchestral work Wiener Blut, Lisbon for piano and chamber ensemble, and choral works The Coming of Winter and Long Time. In addition to Barry’s pieces, each concert will feature the music of Canadian composers including Paul Frehner, Linda Catlin Smith, Jocelyn Morlock and both former and current VS Composers in Residence Michael Oesterle and Jared Miller.

A festival pass for all events is available for purchase at the Victoria Symphony office for $25, or tickets to individual concerts are available for $20. VS subscribers receive a discount on individual tickets.

Victoria Symphony New Music Festival celebrates Composer Gerald Barry
Saturday, March 7, 8 PM / Alix Goolden Performance Hall
Tania Miller, conductor

University of Victoria Sonic Lab
Thursday March 5, 8:00 pm / Phillip T. Young Recital Hall
Ajtony Csaba, conductor

Vox Humana
Friday March 6, 8:00 pm – Lutheran Church of the Cross
Brian Wismath, conductor / Brian Yoon, cello

An Interview with Michael Oesterle about Gerald Barry
Saturday, March 7, 7:00 pm – Alix Goolden Performance Hall
Tania Miller will speak with Michael preceding the Victoria Symphony concert

Emily Carr String Quartet
Monday, March 9, 8:00 pm – Wood Hall (Victoria Conservatory of Music)
with Tzenka Dianova, piano

For tickets call 250.385.6515 or click here.

Young Canadian piano superstar Jan Lisiecki returns to Victoria to play Ravel’s Concerto in G

Victoria, BC – Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jan Lisiecki returns to Victoria March 2 to play Ravel’s jazzy Piano Concerto in G in a concert that will feature conductor Andrew Grams in his Victoria debut. The evening concert also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” and Ana Sokolović’s Ringelspiel.

When Calgary-born Jan Lisiecki was just 9 years old, he made his first appearance with the Calgary Philharmonic. At 11, he played with Yo-Yo Ma, and by 15 he had an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Since these prodigal beginnings, Lisiecki, now 19, has built a major international career, including performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. Since January 2015, he will have completed transatlantic journeys twice: starting the year playing with the Seattle Symphony, he then toured a solo recital around Italy and alpine nations. At the end of March, he will play his first concert in the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi. And fortunately for Victoria, Lisiecki has found a place for us this winter.

Lisiecki will play Ravel’s delightful and challenging Piano Concerto in G. Ravel wrote the concerto between 1929 and 1931, and was heavily influenced by jazz. The work, replete with jazz idioms and chords, uses dissonant harmonies and jazz instrument technique to create a classical piece reminiscent of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. While the concerto is an opportunity for the pianist to show off his technique, the work features many parts that accentuate the skill of orchestra members, particularly a haunting English horn duet with the piano in the second movement.

The concert will be led by conductor Andrew Grams in his Victoria debut. Grams began his musical education playing violin, which he played to earn a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Julliard, and went on to earn a conducting degree at the Curtis Institute. Since completing his education in 2003, Grams has led many orchestras around the word, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, and the Orchestre National de France, to name a few. Grams is in his second year as the Music Director of the Elgin (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, his first such position. In addition to the Ravel concerto, Grams will lead the VS through Canadian composer Ana Sokolović’s Ringelspiel and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral.”

 

Pianist Stewart Goodyear Plays Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 for the first time in Victoria

Victoria, BC – Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On January 31 and February 1, superstar pianist Stewart Goodyear returns to Victoria to play Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2. VS Music Director Tania Miller leads the concert, which also includes a recent composition by Vancouver-based composer Jocelyn Morlock and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8.

Stewart Goodyear was inspired to become a pianist at age three when he first heard Tchaikovsky and Grieg’s piano concertos. After starting formal piano lessons four years later, Toronto-born Goodyear completed studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Curtis Institute and Julliard respectively. Goodyear has performed with the world’s greatest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. While he is known as a Beethoven specialist, his repertoire is varied, from Bach to Liszt to Messiaen, and, as Victoria will find out January 31 and February 1, Brahms. This will be the first time Goodyear will perform the immense Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2.

Brahms wrote his first piano concert at age 25, and it was quickly recognized as a work of genius. Twenty years later, he tried the genre again, and wrote what many consider to be the better work; better structured, better orchestrated and overall a more balanced work. Yet his Piano Concerto No. 2 is such an intense undertaking for all parties involved –including orchestra, conductor and soloist– that it is performed less than its popularity merits. While the solo piano part requires rigorous technique, the true genius of the concerto is the way Brahms wrote the solo as a voice within the greater work, creating a single artistic statement. Even the structure of the four-movement concerto belies the work’s classification as a concerto; really it can be considered a symphony with piano.

These concerts mark the second time Tania Miller will lead Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in Victoria, having last conducted the work in 2008, the last time this work was performed in Victoria. Also on the program is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, a Classical symphony demonstrating the composer’s brilliance. A work by BC composer Jocelyn Morlock, Music of the Romantic Era, opens the program.

As part of the new VS outreach program Behind the Music, there will be a free open rehearsal of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 at the University of Victoria on Wednesday, Janaury 28. Attendees will have the opportunity to sit on stage or behind the orchestra to see and hear exactly what happens at a professional rehearsal. More details and how to RSVP are available at www.victoriasymphony.ca/behindthemusic. Behind the Music is an special series including special preconcert Tania Talks by Music Director Tania Miller, open rehearsals, and other special events designed to enrich the concert experience.

VS Principal Trumpet Ryal Cole to Debut as Soloist

Victoria, BC – Thursday, November 20, 2014

VS Principal Trumpet Player Ryan Cole will make his debut as a soloist December 1, 2014 playing Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto. Music Director Tania Miller will lead the tour-de-force concert that include Barber’s Adagio and Vaughan Williams’s London Symphony.

In his third year as Principal Trumpet of the Victoria Symphony, Saskatoon-born Ryan Cole began playing the trumpet in Grade Six because the trumpet allowed him to sit at the back of the classroom. Since then Cole has earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and has been playing “at the back” of various orchestras in Canada, including Regina, Montreal and Saskatoon. Cole is looking forward to playing at the front of the orchestra for a change next week playing the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto. He first learned the concerto while completing his undergraduate degree, and says that “playing it now is completely different from then – it’s like I had to re-learn the piece” as his playing has changed so much since college. The concerto is a favourite among trumpet players as a virtuoso showpiece for the instrument. Cole will play the version including the cadenzas written by its first performer Timofei Dokschitzer.

In addition to Arutiunian’s work, the first half of the concert will feature Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3. The second half of the concert will be dedicated to the performance of Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 2 – A London Symphony. The work is an attempt, movement by movement, to capture the essence of a part of the great city. Premiered in 1914, the original score of the work was lost when it was en route to Germany at the start of World War I. Although a score was put together from the existing orchestra parts, Vaughan Williams continued to revise the piece to perfectly communicate his vision of London scenes, completing a version in 1920, and yet another in 1933 (published in 1936). Although Vaughan Williams wrote “This revised edition superseded the original [1920] version which should no longer be used” in his final revision, the original 1920 publication remains the most popular version, and is the one the Tania Miller will lead on December 1, 2014.

Tania Miller celebrates her 12th year as Music Director of the Victoria Symphony in 2014/15. The first woman to lead a major orchestra in Canada, Miller has introduced many creative projects focusing on new music, including an Emily Carr Festival featuring new five comissioned pieces about the Victoria native, and festivals dedicated to the music of John Cage and György Ligeti. In spring 2015, Miller will be leading the orchestra in a festival featuring the music of Irish/English composer Gerald Barry. The first festival in North Amarica to focus on him, the Barry Festival will include concerts by University of Victoria ensembles and Vox Humana choir, as well as feature appearances by the composer himself.